When I was a junior in high school, a friend of mine committed suicide. He was gay and had a tough time with many of our peers because of his sexuality, which resulted in his committing suicide. I was only sixteen but his death opened my eyes to the hate that gays face; I had always known how cruel people could be but I had never been exposed to it myself. This is why I believe that everyone should be treated fairly and equally, no matter what their sexuality is.
Why should we live in a world where a certain group of people has to walk down the street afraid of being bullied because of their sexual orientation when it doesn’t have to be this way? I believe that we can still live in a country where all persons are treated equally, regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion, or any other factors one can add to the list. After all, there is something unique and different about every one of us.
What if the people weren’t able to drive cars because of their hair color? What if people with ancestors from a certain country were unable to live in the United States of America? From all that I have learned about America from the public school system, the fact that we are all immigrants sticks out the most. Our ancestors came to this country hoping for freedom to do as they wished, to believe in whatever God they chose to, and to make their own decisions. That makes it unconstitutional that homosexuals are not given the same rights as the rest of Americans. Many do not realize how many rights the gay community is actually stripped of—whether it is the right to be married, the right to combine legal assets, or even their eligibility to adopt a child. Our country is based on freedom, yet only certain types of citizens are given the right? That is not fair.
I often think of a close friend of mine, Amy. She is a strong and well rounded woman who has done well for herself. She runs her own business that is financially successful. She has friends—both gay and straight. She has a son from a previous relationship and he is now seven years old. The fact that she was gay did not change how I acted around her, nor did it change how I thought of her or even how I saw her family. I knew Amy had a long-term girlfriend who had lived with her and her son for a few years, and I was genuinely happy for her. Two years ago my sister told me something that upset me, not because I was directly affected but because of the cruel world some of us live in.
“Amy and her girlfriend broke up, work is a little tense right now,” she told me as we were on our way to work where I would soon see Amy.
“Why?!” this was the last thing I had expected to hear from my sister on that warm Saturday morning.
“Her son Matt started school this year, remember?” she asked me and I nodded.
“Matt was getting picked on because somehow the students found out he lived with two moms, not a mom and a dad.”
A five-year-old boy was being picked on for something he had no control over. Amy left her girlfriend, whom made her life complete, solely for the fact that her son was being made fun of because of her relationship. The whole situation seemed wrong to me. This happened a year after my friend killed himself. I was still young and wanted to believe that these terrible things did not happen on a daily basis to gays and lesbians, but I was naive to even consider this thought as true.
As I grew older, the animosity homosexual’s face became clearer. Many teenagers who are gay or lesbian find it hard to make friends because of their sexuality. They are picked on and ridiculed, rather than befriended and embraced. I think that if teenagers are accepted openly and warmly when they are younger, they will be able to lead a better life.
It is only fair for Amy to be able to live with her girlfriend without her five year old son being teased on the playground. It is only fair that other young students do not have to lose their friends to suicide that is a result of this inequality. By allowing gay couples the same opportunities that straight couples have in the legal system, it is one step closer towards equality for mankind. We have seen prejudices against race, religion, and many other things. Our country has moved from a time when slavery was accepted to having its first black president. Now is the time to take this change, and bring forth more. The world will be a better place when each person can wake up with the same rights as his neighbor, his brother, and the family living down the street from him.
After all, I am just like everybody else. Tonight I will crawl into my bed, tomorrow I will wake up and go to school or to work like any other person. I believe that everyone should be treated equally, and I live the same way as every other person out there. So why am I the one of the only ones who sees this, and when will it be the reality that we are all treated the same? I may be alone in my thoughts, but I believe equality is the answer to a better world.